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Trip planning in October- Help please

Watford
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Trip planning in October- Help please

We are in the process of planning our tour of The Pacific North West this October and have just about sorted out the Oregon portion. So we move on north which is where you come in I hope...

We leave the Portland area on Oct 12 and will be heading for The Olympic Peninsula, hopefully diverting to look at Mount St Helens. Port Townsend or Sequim sound the two best places for a couple of nights before we catch the afternoon ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria.

Bearing in the mind the time of year, should we be considering a 3 night stay or can we see most things with a 2 nighter (one full day plus the following morning)?

All itinerary and lodging ideas welcomed especially good B&B's.

Thanks in advance.

adamhornets@yahoo.com

Gig Harbor...
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1. Re: Trip planning in October- Help please

Greetings AH,

I've lived in Gig Harbor Washington, between Mt Rainier and the Olympics for 18 yrs.

There is an amazing abundance of things to see and do in the Pacific NW. But you have specific questions.

1) Mt St Helens. Interesting to see, will take at least 1/2 day as you will want to drive east from the main freeway, Interstate 5. It may be overcast and if so, don't waste your limited time. Mt Rainier is spectacular, but you can't do that in less than a day. Well worth the time.

2) Portland to Olympia is about 2-3 hours. Olympia to Port Townsend is another 2-3 hours, approximately. So that doesn't leave much time to see things spontaneously. You might consider traveling west from Olympia then north along Highway 101 along Hood Canal, a beautiful trip. Stop in Hoodsport or the little towns further north for some smoked salmon and clam chowder. Watch for wild salmon jumping in Hood Canal (if in season), and stop at the Fish Hatcheries in Union or Hoodsport. You'll see very large "breeder" salmon in the outdoor tanks.

3) If a choice is to be made between Port Townsend and Sequim (Pronounced "Skwim"), Port Townsend is most definitely the place to stay. You'll love the quaint shops, waterfront, boats, the ferry terminal, all right in town. Plan 1/2 day and see the old (by American standards) turn-of-the-century homes. The Commander's Beach House is a very interesting place to stay, convenient, with a wonderful view. There are others. gonorthwest.com/Washington/…townsendbandb.htm

4) When you get to Port Angeles you MUST drive South into the Olympic National Park and take in the AMAZING vistas. You will never forgive yourself if you miss Hurricane Ridge. Plan 1/2 day, or more. It is an expansive jewel, with a breathtaking 360 degree view of the snow capped Olympics, from above many of the peaks, wonderful short and long trails, wild deer that meander around, a Lodge, and well maintained non-frightening roads.

5)The ferry service to Victoria is great.

I hope you do not pin yourself down to an itinery that is inflexible. Spontaneity gives you so many opportunities to ask the natives and take side trips that will reward you with memories that most "drive-thru" visitors miss. And you will never be without a room to sleep as they are abundant.

Walt B

seattle
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2. Re: Trip planning in October- Help please

you will like the Mt. St. Helens loop but plan on pretty much a full day. You could also drive farther north to Tacoma and head towards the Peninsula over thru Gig harbor. Sequim gets about 15 inches less rain than Pt. Angeles as its in the 'banana belt'. I have a great guide book for the peninsula which I got from the visitors center but unfortunately they don't have a website that I can see. It lists however all the b and b's etc. You can try emailing the newspaper. bettyo@sequimgazette.com and see if they can send you a visitors guide.

Lopez Island, WA
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3. Re: Trip planning in October- Help please

I would NOT skip Mt St Helens in your itinerary. I have taken many visitors to the volcano in the last 15 years, including 3 groups of Brits, and ALL of them said it was one of the wonders of the world...or the equivalent. The only thing is that the approach to St Helens from the freeway, I-5 is not the route that enables you to drive right thru the blast zone. To do that you have to go thru the little town of Randle...this would take you into the mountain coming from the north and east. THIS is the route to take. Even after 25 years the mountain is just beginning to recover. Only by driving thru the blast zone do you understand the ferocity of the eruption.

somewhere out there
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4. Re: Trip planning in October- Help please

Adam, don't skip Mt St Helen's, even if the weather is overcast on the ground the cloud level could be low enough that by the time you get to the highest observation center at Johnston's Ridge the sun could be out.It is so,so worth seeing; if you have the opportunity and time to get to Mt Rainier you get the full effect of the contrast between the two, as StHelen's was similar in appearance to Rainier pre-eruption and Rainier could look like St Helen's any time!

If you are driving round the OP then the must stop place is the Hoh rainforest, so amazingly primeval.

Give yourselves the estra day if you have it as WA is very beautiful and well worth the extra time( sound familliar!).

Definately Port Townsend over Sequim,there are lots of B&Bs there and it's an attarctive place.

If you are staying on the OP for a few days then you may be interested in lodging in the park as well.

www.olympic.national-park.com/lodge.htm

somewhere out there
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5. Re: Trip planning in October- Help please

Olympics National Park webiste.

http://www.nps.gov/olym/

seattle
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6. Re: Trip planning in October- Help please

I don't know the way to Randle but the poster was trying to get there from Portland on the way the Olympic Peninsula so he wouldn't be approaching from the north.

Watford
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7. Re: Trip planning in October- Help please

Thanks for all your help and suggestions. Three night there it shall be and we will see what the road less travelled takes us (although it WILL incude Hurricane Ridge.) As it's about a 4 hour drive from Portland to Port Townsend (and we will be staying a little way south of Portland) I am not hopeful that we will get that close to Mt St Helens much as we would love to (sorry Anemone) but we will try to be as flexible as we can.

Opinion appears divided over the most interesting route from Olympia to Port Townsend! More suggestions/opinions welcome.

Returning to my problem of fitting everything in - After leaving Port Townsend we will have five night left to play with. We are leaning towards 2 in Victoria, 2 in Vancouver with our last night in or around Seattle. This is because we have until about 4.00pm on the last afternoon before we have to get to the airport. Is my logic sound?!

Seattle, Washington
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8. Re: Trip planning in October- Help please

I would have spent more time in Victoria and Vancouver. And if you do have the time, I really enjoyed Whistler when I visited there at the beginning of November.

When I first visited Victoria, I spent three nights over Valentine's weekend in 2003. That was perfect. It gave us a chance to visit the different attractons, museums, shopping and good restaurants in the area. We stayed at the Rosewood Victoria Inn, and it was very nice.

Abigail's Hotel has really good reviews in Victoria as well.

Victoria is very romantic and enchanting with the horse and carriages. And the Fairmont Empress Hotel is beautiful.

I stayed at the Granville Island Hotel for one night at the November. I got a good deal on hotel's internet website. We then drove the next morning and visited the Vancouver Aquarium and then onto Whistler for two nights. Whistler was a lot of fun. We stayed at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. I really liked the jacuzzi.

Sincerely,

Diana

Salem, Oregon
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9. Re: Trip planning in October- Help please

We had a student from Essex as a houseguest last summer for 9 days at Gates (see Oregon post). The only thing she cared at all about was Mount St Helens. It was a long day, we went to all 3 visitor centers and stayed a particularly long time at the Johnston Ridge Center. She also took a walk out into the caldera. She *loved* it. She had just completed an internship in a wilderness area, and lived for a month in a historic mining camp, and still said that Mt St Helens was the most amazing thing she'd ever seen.

What can possibly be better in Port Townsend 3 hours earlier than if you went to Johnston Ridge?

Salem, Oregon
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10. Re: Trip planning in October- Help please

I'm not aware of many things to see and do in Port Townsend. You should probably drive down to Winslow and catch a view of the Seattle skyline across the Sound, with Mount Rainier behind it. Then turn around and look at the Olympics behind you.

If you were staying at Port Angeles I'd suggest using one of your days to go over to Cape Flattery (Neah Bay, 68 miles) for the walk out to the northwestern-most point of the US, and a visit to the Makah Indian Tribe museum. It's a beautiful walk, and a marvelous museum. The Makah have such an intriguing culture, with the whaling with hand-thrown spears from canoes of huge hollowed-out cedars, cedar clothing, and longhouses. Neah Bay is really isolated but it was worth the drive. It’s probably too far from Port Townsend.

Here is the link for my trip report about the Makahs.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g143047-i769-k4468…